Parallel and cross cousins

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In discussing consanguineal kinship in anthropology, a parallel cousin or ortho-cousin is a cousin from a parent's same-sex sibling, while a cross-cousin is from a parent's opposite-sex sibling. So a parallel cousin is the child of the father's brother (paternal uncle's child) or of the mother's sister (maternal aunt's child), while a cross-cousin is the child of the mother's brother (maternal uncle's child) or of the father's sister (paternal aunt's child). Where there are unilineal descent groups in a society (i.e. matrilineal and/or patrilineal), one's parallel cousins on one or both sides will belong to one's own descent group, while cross-cousins will not (assuming descent group exogamy).

Consanguinity property of being from the same kinship as another person; quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person

Consanguinity is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person.

Kinship human relationship term; web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of most humans in most societies; form of social connection

In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states that "the study of kinship is the study of what man does with these basic facts of life – mating, gestation, parenthood, socialization, siblingship etc." Human society is unique, he argues, in that we are "working with the same raw material as exists in the animal world, but [we] can conceptualize and categorize it to serve social ends." These social ends include the socialization of children and the formation of basic economic, political and religious groups.

Anthropology is the scientific study of humans and human behavior and societies in the past and present. Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans.

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Role

A chart showing family members in relation to a particular Subject (black triangle). Cousin-Kinship-chart.png
A chart showing family members in relation to a particular Subject (black triangle).

The role of cross-cousins is especially important in some cultures. For example, marriage is promoted between them in the Iroquois system. Parallel cousins are occasionally the subject of promoted marriage, such as the preferential marriage of a male to his father's brother's daughter, common among some pastoral peoples. Such a marriage helps keep property within a lineage. On the other hand, parallel cousin unions in some cultures would fall under an incest taboo, since parallel cousins are part of the subject's unilineage whereas cross-cousins are not.

Cousin marriage marriage between related people

Cousin marriage is marriage between cousins. Opinions and practice vary widely across the world. In some cultures and communities, cousin marriage is considered ideal and actively encouraged; in others, it is subject to social stigma. In some countries, this practice is common; in others it is uncommon but still legal. In others, it is seen as incestuous and is legally prohibited: it is banned in China and Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines and 24 of the 50 United States. Supporters of cousin marriage where it is banned may view the prohibition as discrimination, while opponents may appeal to moral or other arguments. Worldwide, more than 10% of marriages are between first or second cousins.

Iroquois kinship is a kinship system named after the Haudenosaunee people that were previously known as Iroquois and whose kinship system was the first one described to use this particular type of system. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Iroquois system is one of the six major kinship systems.

Incest Sexual activity between family members or close relatives

Incest is human sexual activity between family members or close relatives. This typically includes sexual activity between people in consanguinity, and sometimes those related by affinity, adoption, clan, or lineage.

Kinship terminologies

In many "classificatory" systems of kinship terminology, relatives far beyond genealogical first cousins are referred to using the terms for parallel and cross-cousins. And in many societies, parallel cousins (but not cross-cousins) are also referred to by the same terms that are used for siblings. For instance, it is characteristic of the "Iroquois" system of kinship terminology, its variants the "Crow" and "Omaha", and most Australian Aboriginal systems, that a male parallel cousin is referred to as "brother", and a female parallel cousin is "sister". In an Iroquois type of terminology, if the terms used to refer to cross-cousins are assimilated to those for other relatives, it is generally in-laws (since marriage with cross-cousins is often preferentially favored), so that the terms for "male cross-cousin" and "brother-in-law" are the same, as are the terms for "female cross-cousin" and "sister-in-law".

Kinship terminology is the system used in languages to refer to the persons to whom an individual is related through kinship. Different societies classify kinship relations differently and therefore use different systems of kinship terminology; for example, some languages distinguish between consanguine and affinal uncles, whereas others have only one word to refer to both a father and his brothers. Kinship terminologies include the terms of address used in different languages or communities for different relatives and the terms of reference used to identify the relationship of these relatives to ego or to each other.

Crow kinship is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Crow system is one of the six major kinship systems.

Omaha kinship is the system of terms and relationships used to define family in Omaha tribal culture. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Omaha system is one of the six major kinship systems which he identified internationally.

The remaining types of kinship terminology (the "Hawaiian", "Eskimo" and "Sudanese") do not group parallel cousins together in opposition to cross-cousins.

Hawaiian kinship, also referred to as the generational system, is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Lewis H. Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Hawaiian system is one of the six major kinship systems.

Eskimo kinship is a category of kinship used to define family organization in anthropology. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Eskimo system was one of six major kinship systems.

Sudanese kinship, also referred to as the descriptive system, is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Sudanese system is one of the six major kinship systems.

Taboos

John Maynard Smith, in The Evolution of Sex (1978) [1] notes that Richard D. Alexander suggested that uncertainty regarding paternity may help account for the intermarriage taboo on parallel, but not on cross-cousins. Fathers who are also brothers may overtly or covertly share sexual relations with the wife of one or the other, raising the possibility that apparent parallel cousins are in fact half-siblings, sired by the same father. Likewise, mothers who are also sisters may overtly or covertly share sexual access to the husband of one or the other, raising the possibility that apparent parallel cousins are in fact half-siblings, sired by the same father. Note that there is no possibility of any classificatory cousins sharing the same mother. Because maternal identity is never in question, they would be automatically classified as siblings. Only mistaken paternity leads to such errors.

John Maynard Smith British theoretical evolutionary biologist and geneticist

John Maynard Smith was a British theoretical and mathematical evolutionary biologist and geneticist. Originally an aeronautical engineer during the Second World War, he took a second degree in genetics under the well-known biologist J. B. S. Haldane. Maynard Smith was instrumental in the application of game theory to evolution with George R. Price, and theorised on other problems such as the evolution of sex and signalling theory.

Richard D. Alexander was an American zoologist who was a professor at the University of Michigan and curator at the university's museum of zoology of in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His scientific pursuits integrated the fields of systematics, ecology, evolution, natural history and behaviour. The salient organisms in his research are wide-ranging, from the orthopterans and cicadidae (cicadas) to vertebrates: dogs, horses, and primates, including humans.

Taboo Implicit prohibition based on cultural values, often without rational basis

In any given society, a taboo is an implicit prohibition on something based on a cultural sense that it is excessively repulsive or, perhaps, too sacred for ordinary people. Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies. On a comparative basis taboos, for example related to food items, seem to make no sense at all as what may be declared unfit for one group by custom or religion may be perfectly acceptable to another.

This possibility is much less likely for cross-cousins, because in the absence of full-sibling incest, it is unlikely that cross-cousins can share a father by overt or covert sexual relationships. It would only be possible if a subject's mother had a brother whose wife was impregnated by the subject's father, thereby allowing apparent cross-cousins to be covert half-siblings, sharing the same father.

Middle Eastern parallel cousin marriage

Andrey Korotayev claimed that Islamization was a strong and significant predictor of parallel cousin (father's brother's daughter - FBD) marriage. He has shown that while there is a clear functional connection between Islam and FBD marriage, the prescription to marry a FBD does not appear to be sufficient to persuade people to marry thus, even if the marriage brings with it economic advantages. According to Korotayev, a systematic acceptance of parallel cousin marriage took place when Islamization occurred together with Arabization. [2]

See also

Notes

  1. Maynard Smith, J. (1978) The Evolution of Sex. Cambridge University Press. p. 142. ISBN   0-521-29302-2.
  2. Korotayev, A. V., "Parallel Cousin (FBD) Marriage, Islamization, and Arabization", Ethnology 39/4 (2000): 395–407.

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